Every year 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental illness, that means you will know someone coping with a mental illness at some point in your life. It can be a hard thing to talk about but your help and support could really make a difference in your friend’s life.
If you’re worried about someone, try to encourage them to seek support, there are many different places to go for help. They can visit their doctor, call the beyondblue helpline or access online counselling from a youth mental health worker at eheadspace.
It’s important to remember not to pressure your friend to seek help if they’re not ready, just let them know that you’re there for them and will help them when they are. You can also download the Check-in app for some great ways to start a conversation about mental health.
If you think your friend is in immediate danger call emergency services on 000, take them to the closest hospital emergency department, call a mental health service in your state or call the beyondblue helpline on 1300 22 4636.
If your friend is talking about suicide, saying goodbye or giving away their possessions it’s really important to tell someone so that you can help them. Tell their family, a school counsellor or a teacher you trust so they can help you. If you’re not sure what to do you can call the beyondblue helpline, Kids Helpline, or access online support from eheadspace. Even if you promised your friend you wouldn’t tell anyone, you should still seek help so they can get the support they need.
Possible warning signs someone is thinking about suicide include:
If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly “Are you thinking about suicide?” Don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care and will actually decrease their risk because it shows someone is willing to talk about it. Make sure you ask directly and unambiguously.
If it’s an emergency call emergency services on 000 or take you friend to the closest hospital emergency department. If it’s not an emergency you can call the beyondblue helpline, Kids Helpline for help.
If your friend refuses to get help, make sure you tell an adult you trust so that they are safe.
Supporting your friend might be really difficult for you too, it may be really emotionally draining and stressful. It’s important to remember to look after yourself as well. Make some time to relax, or do something that will help reduce your stress levels. Talk to someone you trust about what you are feeling, like a parent, teacher or school counsellor. You can call Kids Helpline or beyondblue or chat online at eheadspace.